Photo from Deviant Art
What is a Woman in White?
The legend of the White Lady has come from all around the world but is most popular in the United States, Ireland, and Great Britain. One of the most common themes throughout the legend is that the White Lady lost a child or was betrayed by a husband. (Wikipedia) After these events happened the woman supposedly committed suicide. (Exemplar)
“These apparitions are often said to be harbingers of death.” – Exemplore
In some versions of the legend she can be seen on the side of the road, waiting for unfaithful men to stop. The White Lady is also called, “Lady in White”, “Woman in White”, and “Weeping Woman.” The name comes from her appearance, people have described her as a woman wearing a white, flowing dress.
One version of the legend from the United Kingdom is a ghost that is thought to haunt Willow Park in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside. This is located in Northwest England. This particular spirit is thought to be that of a bride who was drowned by her husband in a lake nearby on their wedding night. There are other versions where the woman was thought to have died because she got trapped in a cave in the area and one where she hung herself. But the majority of descriptions remain the same, the ghost is a woman in white.
Photo from Taos News
There is a version of this legend in Hispanic Cultures. The ghost is called “La Llorona,” which means “The Weeping Woman.” In this version, a woman by the name of Maria drowned her children because she thought if she did this, she could be with the man she was in love with. When he didn’t want her, she drowned herself in a lake in Mexico City. When she reached the afterlife, she was not allowed into heaven because of what happened to her children. Maria was forced to stay on earth as a ghost, for all eternity searching for her children. This was supposed to be her punishment for what she had done. In different versions of this particular story, Maria steals wandering children who disobey their parents. The people who have claimed to see her, say she only shows herself at night by rivers or lakes in Mexico. Some who have claimed to see her, say they could hear her weeping. Some people say if you hear her wail then you are going to die soon. (Exemplore)
Legend says she will cry “Ay, mis hijos!” which translates to “Oh, my children!” – Exemplore
The Irish version of this legend is called, “The White Lady of Kinsale.” In this version a soldier married a local girl and they stayed at his fort on the night of their wedding. The soldier was supposed to be on watch duty that night but was a bit drunk from celebrating earlier that day. Other soldiers found him sleeping at his post and shot him because of some protocol. After the bride heard of her husband’s death, she jumped to her own death off of one of the fort’s walls. Years after the event took place, the White Lady was seen wandering around the fort. She is said to have taken a particular interest in children. One soldier reported that he had his daughter with him near the fort one day and she asked him about the lady who was smiling at her. He said he saw no one but his daughter was certain that she saw a woman in a white dress smiling at her. (Irish Central)
There are many versions in the United States. One is about a female ghost who haunts the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park. The story goes that the woman and her husband went on a trip to Yellowstone. While on their trip, her husband gambled all of their money away which lead him to behead his wife and then flee. The legend says that she only haunts the ‘Old House’ which is the only part of it that was built before her death. (Exemplore)
There is another one based in Mukilteo, Washington. There have been many sightings there on Clearview Drive. The story is that the ghost will stand at the side of the road and try to get rides from drivers. It is also said that she will stand in the middle of the road pointing, and then disappear. There is a waterfall on Clearview Drive and people have reported hearing crying and screaming by it. Some believe this could be a Woman in White. (Exemplore)
It’s cool to see how long some legends have been around and how they have been influenced by so many cultures. These stories and legends are a big part of culture and always will be. I’ve never heard of so many different versions of one story before. There were only just a few in this blog but there are probably hundreds of versions. I think that’s pretty incredible. I hope you enjoyed reading about the ones I’ve posted, maybe you’ll want to read some more. If so, here’s an article from List Verse:
Michelle K Smith